The Challenge: How can we re-imagine solutions to finance the growth of SMEs and trade to unlock prosperity for the world’s communities?
Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9) is based on three interconnected pillars: infrastructure, industry and innovation. How can we re-imagine these as facilitators of growth and development in a connected world? 80% of world trade is believed to circulate through global supply chains. 90% of business worldwide is driven by small and medium sized enterprises, in turn supplying up to 60% of employment. 80% of global annual trade flows rely on investment from financial institutions.
Financial services are the lifeblood of commerce, which is in turn driven by entrepreneurs and small businesses. Particularly in developing countries, one of the main barriers to the growth of SMEs is a lack of access to finance. This limits the mobilisation of resources, growth in prosperity, and flourishing of communities. Supporting SMEs and trade worldwide, especially in developing markets, plays a key role in helping to advance SDG 9.
The Lead2030 Challenge for SDG9, supported by Standard Chartered, launched a global search for young leaders working to increase the access of small-scale enterprises, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.
Edward Neequaye, Built Accounting
Ghana’s estimated 550,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) provide 80% of the nation's manufacturing jobs, 90% of existing jobs, and 49% of the GDP. However, 84% of MSMEs identify access to finance as a significant hindrance to their growth, denying them valuable opportunities to build employment and generate wealth for themselves and their communities – especially women, who form 42% of Ghanaian MSME owners. Across sub-Saharan Africa, this translates to a financing gap of $140-170 billion.
Built is a simple financial bookkeeping app. It enables entrepreneurs to keep good financial records and build robust financial profiles for better business decision-making. With these, they can demonstrate their creditworthiness to formal lenders. It makes financial record-keeping easy and incentivises this often-neglected practice by enabling its users to easily share their financial data with lenders, breaking barriers to accessing loans.
Through Built’s data-driven matching/scoring mechanism, Edward and his team provide lenders with new, qualified customers— significantly reducing their customer acquisition costs. Built’s system also helps lending institutions lower their risk and costs, enabling them to lend with improved terms and better compete in the financial services market.
Built has worked with over 500 enterprises across Ghana, helping them to build healthy financial profiles that allow them to better understand their business. Most of these businesses have gone on to raise funds from local banks and investors.
Built has secured partnerships with major entrepreneurship support organisations such as the World Bank-funded Ghana Tech Lab, TechnoServe, Workshed, Innohub, and more. Their partnership with TechnoServe, working on the ENGINE project, worked directly with 320 enterprises. These have gone on to mobilise over $480,000 in credit, generating $2.5 million in incremental revenue and creating over 500 new jobs.